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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Weight management success in practices

Mediterranean diet benefits explained

A Mediterranean diet reduces levels of systemic inflammation and can suppress features of the metabolic syndrome, an Italian study shows.

Researchers randomly assigned 90 patients with the metabolic syndrome to a traditional Mediterranean-style diet and 90 to a 'prudent' diet of 50-60 per cent carbohydrates, 15-20 per cent protein and less than 30 per cent fat. After two years of follow-up, 44 per cent of patients on the Mediterranean diet still had features of the metabolic syndrome compared with 87 per cent of controls. Those on the Mediterranean diet had reduced levels of hs-CRP, IL-6, IL-7 and IL-18.

JAMA 2004; 292:1440-6

Coeliac disease raises cancer risk

Patients with coeliac disease are at significantly increased risk of cancer in the year after diagnosis but the excess risk then subsides, according to an analysis of the general practice research database.

The study included 4,732 patients with coeliac disease, 134 of whom had at least one malignancy. Risk of any cancer was increased by 29 per cent and gastrointestinal cancer by 85 per cent, but the majority of the excess risk occurred in the first year after diagnosis.

BMJ 2004;329:716-8

Teenagers' children prone to suicide

Children who were born to teenage mothers are twice as likely to commit suicide as those of older mothers, a new study finds. Swedish researchers monitored 713,370 people born between 1973 and 1980 until 1999, in an attempt to relate suicide attempts and deaths with obstetric, neonatal and maternal risk factors.

The relative risk of suicide was 2.23 among children born to mothers aged 19 or younger and 2.23 for low birthweight.

The Lancet 2004;364:1135-40

Cardiac rehabilitation better for women

Cardiac rehabilitation benefits women more than men, according to a new study. US researchers assessed 340 patients with coronary heart disease who enrolled in an outpatient exercise programme and completed 36 sessions over a 12-week period.

Women experienced a 14 per cent rise in the levels of high-density cholesterol over the study period, significantly greater than the 7.1 per cent increase in men. The enhanced response among women remained after controlling for changes in fitness and body composition.

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation 2004;24:248-56

Low-carb diet benefits severely obese

Severely obese patients may benefit from a low-carbohydrate diet, research suggests.

A US study compared lipoprotein subfractions and

C-reactive protein levels in 78 severely obese patients,

86 per cent of whom were diabetic or had the metabolic syndrome. They received either a diet containing less than 30g/day carbohydrate or ate normally, defined as less than 30 per cent of their calorie intake coming from fat. Low-carbohydrate dieters saw levels of very-low density lipoprotein fall by 0.26mg/dl more than controls, while those who began with high levels of

C-reactive protein saw sharper decreases.

American Journal of Medicine 2004;117:398-405

Psychotic women risk postnatal blues

Women with a history of psychotic disorders are at high risk of postnatal depression even if they have not been in contact with psychiatric services during their pregnancy, new research shows. The study analysed data from 199 cases and 787 controls taken from the general practice research database.

Of women with a history of psychosis, 27 per cent had an episode during pregnancy and 38 per cent suffered from postnatal depression, double the rate of controls.

Schizophrenia Research 2004;71:49-60

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